The Nothing

Do we have any NeverEnding Story fans in the blogosphere? I loved those movies. I recently discovered there is a third movie in the series, so I’m going to be checking that out. You can tell I stay real current with the flow of culture. Anyways, there was this villain called The Nothing. He stripped all the life away from the people and the world in the movie, he just sucked them all in. It wasn’t so much a he, as much as it was a state. A state of dying dreams, apathy, and unbelief. The spark and wonder of life sucked in and extinguished. I feel that way sometimes with my life. I have all these bursts of energy, hopes, dreams. Fresh ideas of ways to serve the Lord, ways to influence people; to impact them. Then comes The Nothing.

I am sucked in to work, to mind numbing apps, to YouTube, Facebook, to anything this world can offer. Anything that can distract me from the mission. The mission of sharing the love of God. That is what we are here for; to share His love and glorify His name. I know I’m only capable to do things through His strength and not my own, but I am responsible for obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit. You know when God isn’t going to use you? When you are three seasons deep into a tv show to the point that you would rather be watching that than take a call from an old friend, or have some company over. Maybe if said company wants to not speak and quietly be entertained by our magic  box on the wall. The only way for The Nothing to be defeated in the movie was for Bastian to immerse himself in the story; to call out the reality of the good lands of Fantasia, and to believe in it.

How do we break the spell of The Nothing in our own lives? Are you ready for the quick and painless brand new sure-fire way to break it? Me too, but that just isn’t reality. The truth is that it is hard, full of pain, and as old as mankind. Drawing closer to God. It really is this simple….bible study and quiet time in prayer. I was talking to someone today about how easy it is to fall asleep when you pray or read your bible, but I can sit and play games or watch tv until the wee hours of the morning. I say this to my shame. These things shouldn’t be, this is the opposite of the intentions of being ignited for Christ.

Sit down and make a list of what you do with your time. I have listened to people complain so much about “religious” people for so long that I am sometimes afraid to combine anything about my relationship with God to a time schedule. If I make it a scheduled thing I feel like I’m turning it into a ritual and being religious. We need schedules, we need structure. I used to think it was kind of fake to force myself to pray for a certain amount of time, or force myself to read a certain number of chapters in my bible. This isn’t organic, this is just being religious I would tell myself. Is the athlete that pushes himself in the gym when everybody else has left after practice not genuine? Is the day shift dishwasher attending night shift courses for a nursing degree just trying to be something they are not?

No, these people are passionate and have a desire to achieve something. Well, my desire is to achieve a closer relationship with God. To know Him, to walk with Him more closely; to be close enough to hear Him whisper. To really see what it is he has for me in this life. I’m sure the fifty year old would say I’m a young man, but at thirty-two I’m feeling the clock. I guess I give myself a ninety-six year clock when I imagine it in my head. (I used to give myself to 110 but some poor lifestyle choices have led to lower that) Realistically I don’t even have a ninety-six day clock. Dig in and press in now. Help us all Lord to wrap our heads around the idea of storing up our treasures in heaven. I don’t want to invest all of my blood, sweat, and tears into things that won’t last. Jesus gave His blood for the things of God, and that is the example we have. Lets be the best little copy cats we can.

Oddly on Christmas Eve at 1:54 am my post has nothing to do with Christmas, but then again….maybe it has everything to do with Christmas.

Specks are Cool, I Hate Logs

I’m pretty much about done with this whole blog experiment. I never get to be the hero I always used to always see myself as in bible stories. I tend to be the bad guy every time. The worst part is that I tend to do it under the misconception that I’m doing the good guy part.

“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3 (ESV)

The Lord has brought a little (minimize it for comfort) character flaw up to me here lately that I thought I would share. I externalize standards and internalize grace. That is to say looking out my eyes on the world I see all the standards of the law and right living. The things that one would expect out of “good Christian folks.”

Looking in my eyes and onto my heart I see all the grace. I have a thousand faults; be they actions, words, or thoughts that are wicked. I immediately search for that tender merciful grace that the Lord offers lowly sinners like me.

I seem to get grace right where it matters least. The Lord said that the world would know us by our love for one another. I find most often that I have more grace for the stranger on the street than someone in my own church family or family of origin. This is because of an expectation. We all profess the Lord, so then the expectation is that the behavior of those following the Lord will follow. I get all high hopes that showing someone their behavior isn’t really matching the expectation is going to se the lightbulb off in their head. “Thank you so much brother for showing me the error of my ways, mighty fine of the Almighty using you like that, appreciate ya.”

The reality is usually much more along the lines of awkward glances, tension in the air, and a dwindling away of relationships. I’m glad the Lord has brought this to my attention, but also ashamed I’ve let myself fall prey to such text-book tricks of the enemy. Take a good intention and use it to harm and destroy. I hope anyone I’ve ever made a little less than comfortable about their walk with the Lord can pass the grace sauce my way.

I think ultimately the more we seek to impact others in their relationship with God the less we will. The more we seek God in our own relationship; the more we will impact others in theirs.

Who has a blanket and can I sit by your fire?

 

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